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November 2023

Should I Adopt a Bonded Pair?

General Advice

Some prospective owners shy away from bonded pairs because they’re concerned two new animals will be too challenging. But bringing a bonded pair into your family can be incredibly rewarding, and in some cases it’s actually an easier adjustment than just one pet! Here’s a rundown of the benefits of adopting a bonded pair, and why you should consider adding a bonded pair into your family.

What is a Bonded Pair

A bonded pair goes beyond two animals that are from the same household, or a pair of animals that amicably enjoy each other’s company – rather, bonded pairs share a special connection wherein their separation would put both pets at risk of distress, anxiety, or even depression. They’ll usually share beds or sleeping areas, they’ll eat at the same time, play together, and will seek comfort from one another in stressful situations.

Bonded pairs can be comprised of two dogs, two cats, or even dogs and cats. They might be littermates or come from the same household, or they may have bonded after spending time together after being rescued.

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This is why we’re challenging those who are open to adopting a rescue animal to adopt different. Maybe what you had in mind isn’t the only option that could fit into your family. Maybe you could give two animals a second chance instead of just one.

Do Bonded Pets Make Good Pets?

There’s a common misconception that bonded pets are too challenging or too much work, or that they’ll be difficult to incorporate into a family that already has another pet. While the needs of the individual animals need to be examined on a case-by-case basis, it’s false that bonded pairs require double the work – and there are actually benefits to adopting a bonded pair that can make integrating them into your family easier!

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What are the Benefits of Adopting a Bonded Pair?

1. They Keep Each Other Company

Bonded pairs rarely separate from one another and enjoy their days sleeping, eating, grooming, and playing together. This means they’re perfectly positioned to keep each other company, allowing you a break from constant supervision that can come with bringing a rescue pet home.

2. They Help Each Other Adjust to a New Environment

We all know the benefit of having something familiar in an unfamiliar situation, and pets are no different! Bonded pairs have a greater chance of adapting to their new home with relative ease as they find comfort in one another.

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3. They Entertain One Another

Having a live-in best friend sure helps alleviate boredom!

4. Less Anxiety = Less Destructive Behaviours

Unwanted behaviours like barking, scratching, chewing, or damaging items around home are often the result of separation anxiety and boredom. Luckily, bonded pairs are less likely to engage in these activities as they’ve got each other to contend with and they’re more self-sufficient.

5. They Can Share Resources

It’s a common misconception that bonded pairs create double the work and double the costs – but animals which are on a similar walking and feeding schedule take up a similar amount of time as a single pet. Bonded pairs are also prone to sharing resources – sometimes even choosing to sleep in one bed together over two and can share toys, water bowls, and litter boxes.

Of course there are additional fixed costs which can’t be ignored – such as food, medications, vet visits, grooming, and board fees if you travel, so these must be considered when assessing if you’re ready to take on a bonded pair from a financial perspective.

6. Adjust Easily into Homes with Other Pets

Another common concern is that adopting bonded pairs will overwhelm a pet that’s already at home – but in many cases the opposite is true. Because the bonded pair behave comfortably as a duo, they’re self-sufficient and won’t be seeking out your current pet for unwanted playtime or attention.

7. It’s Double the Fur, Double the Love – and You Save Two Lives!

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If opening your heart and home to a rescue pet is rewarding, then surely opening it to two has twice the benefit…right?

This was the case for Lyndall who adopted her bonded pair of rescue cats, Dave and Curtis, from Pet Rescue.

‘They’re a comedy show in themselves, they’ve got their own attitude, they’re own silliness…it’s double the fun.’

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FAQs on Bonded Paris

Can I Separate a Bonded Pair?
Most shelters will avoid separating a bonded pair as it can adversely affect the health of both animals.

What Happens if you Separate Bonded Pairs?

It’s not recommended to separate bonded pairs – it can result in one or both animals becoming intensely distressed. Refusing food, restlessness, moping, and even

depression can occur after separating bonded pairs so once shelters and rescue groups have classified two animals as bonded, they will avoid separating them.

Do Bonded Cats Fight?

Like siblings, it’s possible a bonded pair of cats will fight on occasion. This is not a cause for concern however – separate them for short bursts and make sure you have two of everything to prevent resource guarding (even if they’re prone to share anyway).

Do Bonded Pairs Fight?

While playfighting is not uncommon, it’s rare for bonded pairs to fight in a way that would be deemed problematic. Bonded animals where the bond doesn’t serve both pets (this can happen when one pet is too dominant over the other) are separated at shelter stage.

So, you’re ready for a furry addition (or two) to your family? Now you have all the basics on bonded pairs, you can rest easy with the right information to help you Adopt Different. They can be the best friends you ever had!

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A life can be saved ✔

By adopting a pet from a shelter or local rescue group, you can help save a life. Many pets in shelters are waiting for the second chance at a new life; some will have come from homes of neglect, abuse or a circumstance that is providing a low quality of life. You are also making way for more animals to be adopted, with many rescue groups and shelters only having limited housing and resources to look after the range of pets in their care. In some instances, pets in shelters will be euthanised due to lack of space and resources.

Support for a bigger cause ✔

While attitudes and intentions have well and truly changed regarding animal adoption and rescue pets, illegal puppy farms and unethical breeders still do exist. By choosing to adopt, you’re finding a home for an already sizable population of animals looking for a home, rather than buying a puppy or kitten.

Microchipped and desexed ✔

If you adopt a cat or dog, they are already desexed and microchipped by the rescue group – and all included for a flat fee. With these already covered, you won’t need to worry organising this later in time and managing your schedule around your pet’s recovery from a de-sexing procedure. While de-sexing isn’t a procedure to worry about, it is surgery, and does require a certain level of aftercare.

Socialised and mature ✔

If you adopt a rescue pet, you’ll often find they have already been around a lot of other animals and humans through previous homes or foster-care. Older cats and dogs are also much wiser and experienced when it comes to knowing what acceptable behaviour is and are often much happier laying back and getting a pat than bounding all over the room and people. They're a great choice if really don't have the time to raise and train a puppy.

Note: Always speak to the local shelter or foster carer to learn more about the individual pet’s temperament and behaviour.

Toilet trained or ‘in training’ ✔

If you’ve experienced the initial toilet training regime of a young pet, you know it can be a challenging time. When you adopt a rescue pet from a shelter or rescue group, your pet is often already house trained – unless they’re a young puppy. Most eight-week-old puppies have no idea what a wee mat is for, and probably think you’re being generous with something to rip up while you’re not looking.

Behaviour assessment and vet check ✔

When you decide you’re ready to adopt a pet from a rescue group or shelter, you’ll be provided with the pet’s profile, listing each detail of their personality, age, special needs, temperament, etc. You really get to know your pet even before you’ve brought them home. This is great for families who have children or other pets, as the rescue group or shelter will be able to let you know if your pet will be suitable for your home and lifestyle, to help avoid potential issues.

Also, before being adopted out, all animals will have undergone a vet check, behavioural assessment, are vaccinated, wormed and treated for fleas. It’s a lot more information and medical assurance.

Considering a senior pet?

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While puppies and kittens are cute as can be, and often feel like the perfect blank canvas for your new chapter, it’s worthwhile considering adopting an older pet. They’re just as cute, often require less training, no wee pads and less sleepless nights. Plus, rescuing an older pet not only provides them with a forever home, but can sometimes save their life.

Pet behaviourist and TV host, Lara Shannon, also believes that older rescue pets are often more loving and eager-to-please. Lara adopted her much loved companion, Darcy, from someone who could no longer care for him due to a new living situation; she’s never looked back!

“Having owned two rescue dogs of my own, I have found them to be the most loving and eager-to-please dogs I’ve ever had. After their rocky early lives, they just to seem to know they have been given a second chance and really appreciate the love and care they now receive.” – Lara Shannon

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